A senior Chinese court official said on Tuesday that China has strict restrictions on the use of organs of executed criminals, and cases of such usage are " quite exceptional".
"Actually, the main source of organs for transplant in China is voluntary donation by deceased citizens in accordance with their last wills," said the official with China's Supreme People's Court in an exclusive interview with Xinhua, who asked not to be identified.
The official said it is impossible for any health organizations or scientific research institutions to make use of the organs of executed criminals unless the criminals have voluntarily expressed the wish to donate their organs and signed relevant documents before death, or their families have given consent to such usage.
Such usage must also go through strict examination and get approval of the judicial departments, the official added.
"There is no difference in the procedures of body or organ donation between deceased ordinary citizens and executed criminals, " said the official.
As voluntary donations of organs by executed criminals are not against the law but in the interest of mankind, "such wishes (of the criminals) should be respected," said the official.
The official said Chinese courts have always and would continue to strictly abide by the law concerning the tightly-restricted use of organs of executed criminals, and effectively safeguard the rights and interests of prisoners subject to death penalty.